New PHO order expands COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health professionals

New PHO order expands COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health professionals

The order provides detail about vaccination and reporting requirements for health professionals who are impacted. To continue working, individuals must have had at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 26.

A new order of British Columbia’s provincial health officer (PHO) requires regulated health professionals who are employed, contracted or funded to provide health care services by provincially funded organizations (including health authorities and provincial mental health facilities) to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This order adds to the existing vaccination requirements for residential care.

The Hospital and Community (Health Care and Other Services) COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures – October 14, 2021 provides detail about vaccination and reporting requirements and the facilities/services impacted.

The order also applies to “a person employed, contracted or funded by a person contracted or funded by” an organization named in the order, as well as to students who need to access locations where care is delivered.

From October 26, 2021, individuals must be fully vaccinated or have started on the series of vaccinations against COVID-19 in order to continue providing care to patients or clients. The order has more detail.

College registrants who have questions about how their vaccination status might impact their employment should contact their employer or contracting agency.

PHO issues “take notice” statement for further expansion of vaccine requirements

The order also includes a statement from the PHO about future vaccination requirements coming for regulated health professionals not covered by existing vaccine requirement orders:

“TAKE NOTICE that in accordance with further direction from me, health professionals to be determined by me and their staff, not otherwise required to be vaccinated under the Residential Care COVID-19 Preventive Measures Order or this Order, will be required to be vaccinated by a date to be determined by me, in order to provide health care or services in the Province.”

This will include some individuals in private practice. Note that the October 26 vaccination deadline will not apply.

Vaccination offers wide protection from COVID-19

BC Health Regulators (BCHR) supports the PHO’s vaccine requirements for health professionals to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These are important measures needed to help protect British Columbians, including those who continue to be vulnerable to severe illness and death from COVID-19 even if they are vaccinated. The public needs to have confidence that when they receive health care from a health professional, they are not putting their health at risk.

We recognize that the vast majority of registrants are already taking the responsibility to help eliminate COVID-19 in our communities by getting vaccinated themselves and diligently following COVID-19 prevention practices at work.

We continue to encourage all health professionals and every eligible British Columbian to get vaccinated: this is the best way to protect patients/clients from harm and preserve our ability to safely deliver health services. When you get vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself against COVID-19, but also everyone around you.

Prevention of COVID-19

Remember the actions you can take to protect yourself, your patients/clients and your colleagues, including:

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Referring to the infection prevention and control guidelines provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing wherever possible, practicing good hand hygiene, and sanitizing high touch surfaces.
  • Always responding to patient/client questions and concerns about COVID-19 immunization or related health issues in line with:
    • your scope of practice
    • provincial public health guidance
    • accepted science and best practices

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